Gransnet forums


Should grandparents get expenses incurred looking after a grandchild.

(19 Posts)
JustAMum Thu 17-Nov-11 20:15:31

I am actually a mum of a 9 month old but wanted a grandparents perspective on this.

My fantastic mum and dad are looking after my dd 4 days a week now I have gone back to work. I have provided all the food, nappies etc she will need but they will end up out of pocket looking after her. I am giving them £50 a month to pay for extra petrol needed, playgroups, snacks while out and many other expenses I have not thought of.

They both looked really offended and said they did not want to be paid to look after her. I said I wasn't, the cash was purely for expenses. I personally think I am short changing them at £50 but can see I am going to have to force them to take the cash every month.

They are not rich but are in a comfortable financial position, I just think dh and I are financially responsible for dd. Am I right or are they?

grannyactivist Thu 17-Nov-11 20:19:42

I think to reimburse their expenses is an appropriate gesture - I also think that if they don't need the money they are right to turn it down. What to do? Give them a 'treat' every now and again as a gesture of thanks and goodwill. smile

HildaW Thu 17-Nov-11 20:40:15

JustaMum, first of all dont see this as a who is right or wrong situation, this is always going to be very much a negotiated compromise.

We hear of Grandparents who are really taken advantage of in here and then cases like yours and all shades in between.

Treat this as an ongoing negotiation, let them know you dont want them out of pocket and that you really appreciate what they are doing. They probably see looking after their grandchild as a huge pleasure rather than a job that needs paying for. Encourage them to see your covering their costs as the accepted norm because if they were not available you would be paying someone else. But do allow them to spend on what they see as the little extras (believe me us Grans love doing this). You can always treat them to a little treat as a 'thankyou' from time to time. Just let them know that the last thing you want is for them to feel unappreciated or 'put upon' in the months and years to come. You do not want the wonderful relationships within a family when grandchildren come along to founder on something as mundane as money.
P.S. My Mum had my daughter for a similar amount of time when I had to return to work 30years ago as a suddenly single parent. She loved every minute of it and no money changed hands. I had none to spare and neither did she. We just muddled along and made the best of it. Good luck XX

Carol Thu 17-Nov-11 20:40:17

Yes, I agree that a treat every now and then would be a good way to recompense them, but more to show your appreciation. It's a privilege to look after grandchildren if you are able and of course, some grandparents willl need to be paid, depending on their circumstances. You could also come to collect your daughter and bring something like a luxury M and S meal for two with wine to save them cooking after a busy day. I know if I was given it, the £50 would go straight back on my grandchild, anyway!

PoppaRob Fri 18-Nov-11 02:07:32

Hi JustAMum. Sorry this is long but I figured it was better to paint an accurate picture. I'm not saying our way is right or wrong but here's how it works for us...

My daughter pays me AUD$1,000 a month for looking after my 2 1/2 year old GD 3 full days and 2 half days a week which works out to about 60% of what she'd pay for formal childcare, but it does almost cover my mortgage. At nights and on weekends I build musical instruments when I have the energy left after a long day and do some computer work for a friend's company. It's a struggle financially and there's no money for kicking up my heels but it's not forever. Once she starts school in another couple of years I'll pick her up in the afternoons so most of my days will be mine again and I can get my finances back on track.

I pay for anything needed while GD is with me, so nappies, wipes, food, medicines etc. On the 2 half days GD goes to a "proper" childcare centre (which the daughter pays for) and I pay for petrol to pick her up (a 50Km round trip but not as bad as it seems as I live in a semi-rural area and most of it a 100Km/h speed limit). Our government also provides a small payment for out of pocket expenses for "informal" child care arrangements. I think it's 50c an hour for up to 40 hours a week, but I just sign a heap of the forms and let my daughter claim it back every few months. Of course I buy treats and odd bits and pieces of clothing if I see anything on special, but every now and then my daughter will either give me a few dollars extra or maybe take me out for a meal to even things up.

When my daughter and/or son in law are on holidays or it's a public holiday they have her, so I see that as "holiday pay". If I have a specialist appointment (I have a managed heart condition) one of them takes a half day from their annual leave so once again I see that as "sick pay". wink

I know it's costing me money overall but what price do you put on being a big part of a child's life? When my daughter was that age I was working as a sales rep so I really only saw the kids on weekends and to tuck them in at night. Probably more importantly to me I never knew my grandfathers and my grandmothers were loving but matronly hands-off women who died by the time I was a teenager so my memories of them are mainly Mothers' Days, Christmas Days, lunches where you had to be on your best behaviour and by the time I was a teenager they really didn't factor in my life and before I knew it they were gone. I kind of like the idea that my GD will be have fond memories of her loving, fun, quirky Poppa when I've gone.

JessM Fri 18-Nov-11 02:26:41

Nice post, again, popparob.

Carol Fri 18-Nov-11 08:58:37

popparob you've got a nicely balanced arrangement there, which seems to suit everyone involved.

gillybob Fri 18-Nov-11 11:04:55

JustAMum. I totally agree with grannyactivist on this one. If your mum and dad are comfortable financially and really don't need the money, then I wouldn't offend them by insisting they take it. A nice treat every now and again would be lovely and show that you really do appreciate what they do to help.

I have my 3 grandchildren 2 days/nights a week every week and have done for the past 5 years. Never once a bunch of flowers..... sad sometimes not even a thank you............ sad sad

pompa Fri 18-Nov-11 11:17:01

We probably spend £100/month on fuel travelling to look after our Grandson. Our Daughter always offers to pay our petrol, but we could never take it, their need is greater than ours. However it would be good if we could claim for this expense against tax, if we were a business we could.

Libradi Fri 18-Nov-11 12:30:09

Good post Poparob it sounds like you have a great arrangement. Completely off topic but what type of musical instruments do you make? Just curious as my husband has made a couple of violins and trained as a restorer.

JustaMum I think if your parents want to look after their GC and not take any payment that's fine if they are in a position to do it. As others have said a little treat to show your appreciate can make a big difference.

ameliaanne Fri 18-Nov-11 13:35:23

My daughter insists on paying me when I look after her two little ones, both when she is working and when she and her DH are having an evening out. She insists because she says it then means that she can ask me any time and I am nearly always available. She also says she would far rather I look after them than someone else whom they don't know. I do have guilt about accepting it but am on a very low income and I also really appreciate the little extra.

Libradi Fri 18-Nov-11 14:27:47

I don't think you should feel guilty ameliaanne, I can understand your DD feeling happier leaving them with you than with strangers and I'm sure she feels better helping you out with a little extra at the same time, rather than paying anyone else.

gracesmum Fri 18-Nov-11 18:34:32

Doesn't this just show that it depends on personal circumstances? I don't think there is one of us who feels we require payment for looking after our GC- it is a privilege and a joy but I was touched when my DD offered me money to cover car expenses for looking after GS one day/evening a week on a regular basis (they live 75 miles away). She can afford it.They both enjoy eye watering salaries and I am living on a drastically reduced income. She said it meant she didn't feel awkward asking me to get the odd bit for his supper or anything else on my there. I wish I could have waved it away and had every intention of stashing it away towards treats for the children, but the hike in the cost of diesel meant that I was in fact glad of it.

greenmossgiel Fri 18-Nov-11 18:47:34

I have a good friend whose daughter lives about an hour and a half away from her. My friend is widowed, and travels up to look after her grandchildren every day according to her daughter's shifts (she's a midwife). My friend refused payment from her daughter but accepts money for petrol. She prefers to travel rather than stay there for the duration of the shift pattern and it's worked really well for all concerned.

em Fri 18-Nov-11 18:59:09

A lot of sensible suggestions and I hope you find them helpful Justamum. As a gran who does some looking after but where no cash changes hands, I really like the suggestion that, instead of money you do the occasional treat. I love the suggestion of the M&S meal for two on a fairly regular basis. How lovely to get to the end of the week without having to decide what to cook and just to be handed a delicious meal!

JustAMum Fri 18-Nov-11 20:30:31

Thanks for all the advice. You guys are all so sweet. I still feel uncomfortable not giving any money when I know mum will be spending on dd.
The M&S suggestion is great but mum is gluten intolerant so would be hard to find enough gluten free options without them getting bored.

Thanks again.

gracesmum Fri 18-Nov-11 21:00:58

Vouchers for a weekend away perhaps or a theatre visit?

PoppaRob Sat 19-Nov-11 18:53:21

Libradi, nothing as difficult as violins! These are solidbody electric instruments. is me.

Libradi Sun 20-Nov-11 15:08:20

Great Website PoppaRob I can see you're very talented and love your work.